Newsletter of the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium Summer 2014: Vol. 21, Issue 1

Outstanding work gets results
by Rod Diridon, Emeritus Executive Director, MNTRC

Rod Diridon, Executive Director, MNTRC

Rod Diridon, Sr.
Emeritus Executive Director

MNTRC has just been notified by US DOT that the contracting period within which the current federal and matching funds may be expended has been extended to January 31, 2017. By that time, MNTRC will have compiled a very enviable benchmark record for the University Transportation Center program. Since the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium (MNTRC) was established in January 2012, it has produced an impressive amount of work. The nine university members have collaborated to benefit the US, its transit services, and its riders. As a consortium, MNTRC has enjoyed a period of remarkable effort and unique success.
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MNTRC Profile

MNTRC welcomes Dr. Karen Philbrick as new Executive Director
by Donna Maurillo, MSTM, Director of Communications & ITT

Dr. Karen Philbrick

Karen Philbrick, PhD

The Board of Trustees, San Jose State University leaders, researchers, professors, and staff celebrate the selection of Dr. Karen Philbrick to lead the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium (MNTRC) and the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI). Dr. Philbrick assumed the executive directorship on July 1, as Rod Diridon, the Institute's executive director since 1993, shifted to emeritus status. Dr. Philbrick also will continue to fulfill her critically important role as director of research for both agencies, overseeing more than 50 projects currently in process and more than 200 research associates and 150 student research assistants under contract.
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Bowling Green State University

Can public-private partnerships improve transit?
by Hokey Min, PhD, James R. Good Chair in Global Strategy

Public transit bus

Demand for transit is high, but funding is scarce.

Thanks to high gasoline prices and stifling traffic congestion, more city dwellers are riding transit. That demand has put pressure on transit agencies to expand routes, improve infrastructure, and hire more workers. But those things are costly, especially in a time of government cutbacks and budget reductions. This means agencies must increase their financing options without burdening taxpayers or government. Can public-private partnerships (PPP) help fill that gap? It’s already being tested in the Toledo area.
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Grand Valley State University

Battery recovery keeps transit sustainable
by Charles Standridge, PhD, Professor and Assistant Dean, Padnos College of Engineering and Computing

Battery recycling is essential, as eventually all cells in all batteries will fail to hold a charge sufficient for any application. This means cleanly separating and thus recovering copper, aluminum, iron phosphate, and lithium from lithium iron phosphate batteries. Because these batteries are relatively new on the market, there are no studies about their recycling. Thus, laboratory-scale experiments were designed and conducted at Grand Valley State University’s (GVSU) School of Engineering based on a review of previous studies about lithium cobalt oxide batteries.
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PENN State

Alternate-fuel vehicles show promise
by David J. Klinikowski, Director, Center for Bus Research and Testing

Plug-in electric motorbike

Featured vehicles included electric motorcycles.

The Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute’s Hybrid and Hydrogen Vehicle Research Laboratory hosted the 21st Century Automotive Challenge at Penn State’s University Park Campus on April 10-13. Participating vehicles represented a broad range of automotive power choices, including electric, gasoline-hybrid electric, pluggable hybrid electric and biodiesel. Many types of advanced alternative fuel vehicle technologies have been designed, built, and researched at Penn State, which has infrastructure for various means of fueling. On Thursday and Friday, April 10-11, competition vehicles registered for two days of preliminary technical inspection, dynamic testing, range events, and student and faculty tours.
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Rutgers University

MTA’s early years reveal politics of finance
by Robert B. Noland, PhD, Prof. and Dir., Voorhees Transportation Center

MTA car tagged with graffiti

Heavily tagged metro vehicles can use significant maintenance funds.

Photo Credit: Erik Calonius, US National Archives

Public transit finance is often examined from an economic perspective. Instead, research conducted by doctoral candidate Nicholas Tulach examines the politics of finance through a case study of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). This ongoing historical study situates the narrative within a context of crisis management. It also further examines the intersection of actor-based history and structural forces to draw out the complexity of transit finance in America’s largest metropolitan region.
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San Jose State University

Research
Terrorism database yields valuable insights

by Karen Philbrick, PhD, Executive Director

Bomb-damaged bus

Aftermath of terrorist bus bombing.

The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) can generate expert analyses of terrorist incidents thanks to its computerized proprietary database of attacks on surface transportation from around the world. The database, which is not available to the public because of its sensitive data, now contains detailed information on 4,139 attacks. The attacks on transit systems have been extensive. From September 11, 2001 to December 31, 2013, terrorists carried out approximately 2,515 attacks against public surface transportation worldwide, resulting in 5,220 deaths and 17,106 injuries.
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Transportation security handbook fills critical void

Transportation worker douses fire

Emergency training targets transportation workers.

A transportation emergency training handbook by MTI Research Associates Dr. Frances Edwards and Mr. Dan Goodrich has received an overwhelming response from the transportation community. Written specifically for transportation sector organizations, Exercise Handbook: What Transportation Security and Emergency Preparedness Leaders Need to Know to Improve Emergency Preparedness offers the first comprehensive guidance to develop a Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP)-compliant exercise cycle.
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Information & Technology Transfer
Demand for MTI research stronger than ever

by Donna Maurillo, MSTM, Director of Communications & ITT

To ensure MTI research is read by those who can use it to serve the public good, we promote each newly released study through publicity campaigns using nationally distributed news releases and social media. We also schedule media interviews with MTI experts. By analyzing activity and downloads on the MTI and MNTRC websites, we can see precisely how well we've done. We're pleased to report that traffic on the MTI and MNTRC websites has risen significantly over the past year. For calendar year 2013, average monthly uses rose to 382,125—an increase of 29 percent over the previous year—and average monthly downloads increased by 9% to 106,829.
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Women in Transportation meet in Denver

Sherri LeBas, Louisiana Secretary of Transportation

Louisiana Secretary of Transportation Sherri LeBas discusses her career in civil engineering.

MTI and the University of Denver’s National Center for Intermodal Transportation (NCIT) were among the co-sponsors of a gathering of female transportation leaders. Women in Transportation: Recruitment, Retention & Advancement took place in early April at the University of Denver. The summit attracted a stellar roster of speakers, including Sherri LeBas, Louisiana Secretary of State, who delivered the opening keynote. Marcia Ferranto, CEO of the Women’s Transportation Seminar, delivered the closing keynote.
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University of Detroit Mercy

Study reveals perceptions of transit
Leo E. Hanifin, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

Man holding sign: "Invest in Transit"

Transit is a primary means of mobility for many.

The University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) presented the results from “A Study of Public Opinion Regarding Transit” at a conference in New Orleans on May 29. This study covers public perception/ sociodemographic studies in relation to transit and transportation planning and design. Among the key factors for effective public participation processes, The Transportation Planning Process Key Issues report by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA-HEP-07-039, 2007) lists educating the public on transportation issues, identifying techniques for engaging the public, and defining methods to measure the participation program’s effectiveness.
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